Second Part of Inductive Bible Study – Interpretation

Posted by on Jul 7, 2017 in Bible study | 0 comments

Welcome back to Ruth!

Now, let’s move into the second part of inductive Bible study – INTERPRETATION.

Remember how observation asks the question, “What does this say?” Interpretation asks, “What does this mean?”

At this point, I want you to go back to each chapter and rather than relying on what your Bible may say give your own title to each chapter of Ruth.

In doing this, you review the key events, people, and places in each chapter and base your title for each on the main thing using words from that chapter.

Another thing, I would like for you to do is to pick a key verse from each chapter. This verse should relay the pivotal moment or highlight a major event in the lives of the key people, or it can expound upon an attribute of God. This may be when you get to exercise a bit of license here as your key verse, may be different from that of your neighbor. Usually, the key verse for a chapter goes along with the title you’ve given a chapter. Give it a try.

I understand, this may be a bit uncomfortable for you, because you are not accustomed to doing this. But let me tell you, if you will get in the practice of doing this in the future, the books you read in the Bible will begin to stick better in your mind and you’ll be building up biblical addresses in your memory. It’s a neat thing! Even as I type this I am smiling thinking about inductive studies I’ve done in the past and how they are better sealed in my heart and mind because of doing these things.

Something else that is important to do in this interpretation period is to get a better grasp more of the cultural context in this narrative (or any book in Scripture).

In the case of Ruth, you would do this by understanding what the Bible says about how foreigners (sojourners) were to be treated among God’s people, how widows were to be cared for, what the laws were for settling an estate when a woman was bereft of any male remaining in her lineage. So much pertaining to these very things can be found in the books leading up to Ruth. So go ahead and read all 7 if you don’t mind. I’ll wait…

Silly you, don’t be ridiculous. If you have prior knowledge to these things then draw from your memory bank and make some notes. Otherwise, go to a reliable Bible encyclopedia or look at the cross-references in a Bible that has them. You’ll find more information in commentary, but don’t read too much past those topics above as it will spoil the discovery of other things for you.

Because I like to know meanings of names, I often grab my Bible dictionary for indulging. So go ahead, and look up the meanings of the names of the main people in Ruth. Next, look up the meaning of the key places in Ruth.

As you get to work on these things, pray first. Remember to engage with God in prayer before setting out to study.

Don’t be frustrated that this may be more involved than you are accustomed to regarding studying the greatest words ever penned. What a privilege you and I have to even be able to study them! Share your delight with God in this and share your exhaustion of it, too. Tell him your heart’s desire for even studying the Bible. Ask for his help through the power of that resident tutor Holy Spirit that indwells every Christian. Ask for time to study it and ask him to help you remember it. Ask him to move knowledge from your head to your heart to your hands to live it out.

Until next week, be blessed in your time in the Word. If you have any specific questions, as always, contact me via the form at the end of today’s post.

In summary, your assignments for this week are:

  • Pray as you begin your time of studying and note making each day this week. Secure your necessary resources for the week. If you missed my resource recommendation post, here it is.
  • Assign a title to each chapter of Ruth using words from the chapters
  • Pick a key verse from each chapter of Ruth
  • Get a better grasp on what Scripture says about cultural situations found in Ruth by looking at other books in the Bible using the cross-references next to specific verses, looking at your Bible’s concordance on topics, seeing a Bible encyclopedia, or reading commentary in a study Bible or a commentary on Ruth.
  • Look up meanings of the names of key people and key places in Ruth by doing a biblical word study if you know how, or looking at a Bible dictionary, or an English dictionary.
  • Send any questions you may have by using the contact form below. If you need a phone call to help you, leave your phone number in the message of the contact form, and I will call you.

An update on my dad: he was moved to a physical therapy rehab facility last night. So that’s good! Please pray that he will do the therapy required to regain lost strength and to be able to resume his normal activities at home at the conclusion of therapy’s duration. Please continue to keep him and my mother in your prayers as he is at this facility.

 

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